Assam: Illegal immigrants can buy citizenship for Rs 10,000!
Illegal immigration is by far the biggest issue in the Assam primarily because sneaking into Assam from Bangladesh is fairly easy. The size of the Brahmaputra varies through the year, making it almost impossible to fence the border. Thus, a large part of the district is unfenced, making it easy for illegal migrants along the border to sneak into Assam.
75% of the citizens in some of the districts are Muslims. The rate of growth of the Muslim population in Assam in general, is far higher than in the rest of the country. Locals complain that a large part of the reason behind the spurt in the Muslim population is the illegal immigration from Bangladesh.
As per sources, it was found out that it was ridiculously easy for a foreign national to acquire Indian citizenship by submitting fake documents or by paying as little as Rs. 10,000 to acquire one.
In some instances several illegal immigrants who have been officially declared as foreigners by the tribunal, still had the right to vote. What is said to happen in most elections in Assam, according to the opposition, is that its not just the original inhabitants of the state who are casting their vote but also thousands of migrants who have sneaked in from Bangladesh.
According to an investigation by an Indian television channel, middlemen have established a well-oiled machinery to provide documents of identity proof such as driving licences and school transfer certificates, against which these migrants can becomes citizens and exercise their right to vote.
The investigation team also spoke to the National Register of Citizens of India (NCR) officials who shared insider details of the process in which foreign citizens acquire Indian citizenship.
According to National Register of Citizens' officials, in Dhubri alone, there might be as many as 12,000 Bangladeshi migrants who are living as Indian citizens with fake papers.
"We have got two lists of Bangladeshi migrants living in Dhubri. The first list was of some 11,975 persons. They are the DVoters or dubious voters and they cannot cast their votes as their cases are pending in the Foreigners Tribunal. Second list was that of another 16,504 such persons," said an NRC official caught on hidden camera.
"We are working through the method of sampling. The figure is nearly 30,000. Out of this we have checked 3,000 in which we have found 80 cases of illegal migrants. Out of these 20 have their names on electoral rolls. The rest 27,000 we have to find, but they might have moved from the given addresses," said a highly placed official of the NRC.
The officials also claimed that they had nearly identified all such 'foreign nationals' in Assam. They are only another six months or so away from completing the process.
(Images sourced from internet)